Published: Fri, July 14, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Tour de France - stage 12: Bardet victor, Aru yellow

Tour de France - stage 12: Bardet victor, Aru yellow

Three-time Tour victor Froome faded badly on the brutal final climb of the 214.5km stage from Pau while Aru finished third to take the final bonus seconds on offer. And once he gets the jersey, awarded to the Tour's overall leader, Froome tends to keep it.

He said he had visited the ski station with his parents to scout out the final climb.

Froome said: "My legs weren't there at the end but there's still a lot of race to go".

On a day when new life was breathed into the Tour de France, Frenchman Romain Bardet powered clear to win on the Peyragudes airfield where they shot James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.

"Sky still have a very strong team relative to others", said American LeMond, a Tour victor in 1986, 1989 and 1990.

"It was a nervous day and I was caught in a crash", said Bardet, who is trying to become the first Frenchman to win the Tour since Bernard Hinault last managed the feat in 1985. "I just have to soak it up and to wait for better days".

However, this is only the second time since 2013 that Froome has been forced to surrender the yellow jersey after moving into the Tour lead. With neither rider contending for the points on offer at the stage finish which was one for the climbers like Bardet, the day ended with Kittel still in the green jersey and in first place on 352 points, Matthews in second on 222 points and German Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) in third on 171 points.

Had the general classification contenders possessed sufficient courage to attack Froome sooner in today's stage, Froome would likely have lost significant time in today's stage.

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Today's stage will be extremely hard, with six categorized climbs - three of them either rated Category 1 or "hors categorie" - beyond categorizing.

But after Geraint Thomas won the opening time trial, and Froome took over as leader last week, the triple Tour victor has repeatedly said his aim was for Sky to keep the yellow jersey all the way to Paris. For some reason, Landa followed instead of waiting with Froome, perhaps in an effort to maintain his top-10 place or steal away bonus seconds, and Froome's younger rivals achieved a gap.

"I had a bad moment there at the end". Stage victor Romain Bardet of France is third, 25 seconds back.

"We know from previous stage races that short stages can make some serious damage".

"I was really close to winning the stage".

In kph, Chris Froome's maximum speed in the descent from the Port de Bales.

Colombian Rigoberto Uran was second to Bardet and originally saw himself move to within 35sec of Aru in fourth overall, until a 20-second penalty for illegally taking a water bottle in the final 10km sent him back to 55sec adrift of yellow, where he had started the day. Crucially, he was 20 seconds down on Aru, meaning that the Italian has claimed the yellow.

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